The latest resistance plan against President Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign includes attempts in at least 25 states to pass a law that requires presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the ballot.
President Trump is the only modern-day president to refuse to release his personal tax returns, so conceivably a law passed to require that could block him from the ballot. The issue with this plan by the Trump-hating “Resistance” that is no state has been able to officially pass a law requiring it, Axios reports.
Even deep blue California and New Jersey have vetoed the laws after it had passed both state chambers, but both Rhode Island and Maryland are currently working such a law in their state Houses after passing it in their Senate chambers, according to Axios.
Former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., had called the attempt in his state a “transparent political stunt” in vetoing the law, while Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., said it “sets a ‘slippery slope’ precedent for what individuals states could require of candidates,” per Axios.
Such laws might wind up being battled in the Supreme Court, too, because they are clearly unconstitutional.
The top U.S. court has ruled in the past states nor the federal government can create new requirements for House or Senate candidates, AP reports, which likely would extend to the head of the executive branch, too.
California Gov. Jerry Brown made it clear he did not veto the bill to support Trump, but to stop his state from going down a slippery slope.
“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” Brown wrote in his veto message, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”
Despite those examples, similar legislation continues to be advanced in various states.
This month, Rhode Island’s state Senate approved such a law, which will now be debated by the other house of the state’s legislature, the Providence Journal reported.
Maryland’s state Senate also passed the bill, which is now awaiting action from the other house of the legislature. Passage, however, drew sharp rebukes from the proposal’s opponents, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“Show me in the Constitution where it says that’s a qualification for being president of the United States,” said Democrat James Brochin, a senator from Baltimore County. “We can’t go along and make up rules when we don’t like the president of the United States.”
Senate Minority Whip Stephen Hershey said the bill was absurd.
“This is the most childish bill that I’ve ever seen and I’m embarrassed that it’s on the floor,” the Republican senator said.
“I think a requirement of revealing one’s tax returns would be regarded as an additional qualification,” Michael McConnell, a professor at Stanford Law School, told the Associated Press.
“And then there’s the tax law problem, because federal law guarantees the confidentiality of tax returns. And I think that law would pre-empt any state law requiring someone to divulge their returns,” he said.
Another commentator said the bills are more of a political reaction than a legislative plan of action.
“I suspect that these bills will be very similar to the birth certificate legislation introduced after President Obama’s election — political statement bills that likely aren’t constitutionally sound or likely to be signed into law,” said Daniel Diorio, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “If one were to become law, I’m sure it would be challenged immediately.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 27th, 2018